From the monthly archives: February 2010

In the week since the release of our iPhone app, we have received considerable press coverage. Here is a short segment from ABC News:

And here are some excerpts from journalists, bloggers and analysts:

Fonolo Launches Free iPhone App

“Wow. We need this app.”

- David Sims, TMCNet

Fonolo Skips Automated Customer Service Phone Trees, Now on iPhone

“… we love [Fonolo] for how easy it makes it to skip through those annoying recorded customer service messages that make you press a bunch of numbers to get where you want to go…. Now the service has an iPhone app with the same great features as the site, but with more in-your-pocket convenience.”

- Lisa Hoover, Lifehacker

The Real Meaning of Fonolo’s iPhone App

“[Fonolo] has invested a tremendous amount of resources into calling toll-free numbers in order to map the IVR menus of hundreds of companies… This ‘Tap for an Agent’ function is now extended to iPhone users… a neat trick and deserves recognition as a solution to the hold-time dilemma that leads customers to conclude that their time, ultimately, is not important to a business.”

- Dan Miller, Opus Research

Fonolo’s deep dialer comes to the iPhone

“The main attraction, of course, is being able to dig through a company’s entire phone structure and get connected without having to waste phone minutes (and precious moments of your life) listening to automated prompts.”

- Josh Lowensohn, CNet

Service navigates past automated phone trees

“When you call a big company, how annoyed do you get by having to press one for this and press two for that? Now there’s relief. A new phone application called Fonolo takes you past the phone tree, directly to the department you want.”

- ABC Ch 7 News, San Francisco

Calling a company? Here’s how to avoid automated menu hell

“We’ve all been there before. You’re calling your TV provider, bank, airline retail giant or government and you’re stuck in ‘voicemail hell’. You know, that never-ending phone system menu with touchtone or voice-activated prompts that could drive you crazy… Fonolo has a free “deep dialling” solution, and now an iPhone app, too.”

- Mark Saltzman, Sync-Blog / Sympatico.ca

Fonolo lets iPhone users skip corporate phone hell

“Besides the ‘stick it to the man’ aspect of the app, I also like the fact that it operates over wifi, saving users from onerous cell charges… sometimes you simply have to talk to a human, and in those cases, Fonolo looks like it will keep you from smashing things and going berserk before you get to said human.”

- Warren Frey, TechVibes

 

Great News! Fonolo is now available as a free application for the iPhone and iPod Touch! [iTunes link].

Tired of all the "Press 1 for this and 2 for that" nonsense you normally get when calling a company? With Fonolo, you can actually preview all of the options in a company’s phone menu before placing the call.  Just tap the option you need and Fonolo will do the rest.

If you already have a Fonolo account, your call history, bookmarks and recordings will automatically be synchronized to the iPhone application. If you’re new to Fonolo, you can create an account right on the phone.  Best of all, the Fonolo service remains free for consumers.

Home Screen

Here you can see recent calls made through Fonolo. How does this differ from a regular call history? Each entry remembers the point inside the company’s phone menu that you called. Just tap to repeat the call.

ifonolo-1 

Company Screen

From here you have one-tap access to the three most common points called in the company’s phone menu. We call them “Common Calls”. You can also dial the company’s “front door” (top left button) or view its entire phone menu to initiate a Deep Dial (top right button).

ifonolo-2

Navigating a Phone Menu

To navigate through a phone menu, we invented this “split screen” approach. The top half shows you the words that you would hear at this point in the menu. The bottom half lets you navigate to any of the options available from this point.

ifonolo-3

Dialing

When you trigger a call, the Fonolo service will call the company and navigate through their phone menu. Your phone will ring shortly afterwards and, when you answer, you will be connected directly to the point you selected.

ifonolo-4

 

image The Telecom Council of Silicon Valley has nominated Fonolo for their annual award of top start-ups. We are in the "Most Disruptive" category which they describe as an award

for the most game-changing company … whose progress is most likely to disrupt markets and change the way people do things

Yep, sounds like us.

More info here.

The award honors the best telecom startups, so we’re delighted to be selected. As icing on the cake, if Fonolo wins on February 25, the team gets a 1-hour ride on the Zeppelin NT flown by Airship Ventures.  (Apparently the only such craft operating in America.) Now there’s a prize you don’t see everyday!

 

Consumer-vs-BizMost people know Fonolo for our award winning consumer service which makes it less frustrating to call large companies. With that service, we pioneered the technology of “Deep Dialing” — connecting directly to any point in the phone menu, without the annoying navigation.

About a year ago, we started working on an enterprise product that would allow companies to use this same technology to improve the calling experience for their own customers.  Last summer, we demonstrated the “widgetized” version of Fonolo which allows the Deep Dialing interface to be embedded on any web page. It got people pretty excited. (Illustrated below. Or, try it here or here.)

Acme Widget

Over the last few months, we have built supporting technology around this widget version of Fonolo: web-based admin tools, advanced tracking, etc.  As well, we have done a number of field trials getting the product tuned to the needs of the market.  As a result, I’m happy to say that we now have a solid offering. It’s still a “v1″, to be sure, and there will be a lot of tweaking ahead, but today our product is: easy to deploy, scalable, reliable, flexible, compatible with all major browsers and — most impressively — compatible with any company’s phone system.

We’ve done all this work somewhat quietly; the consumer service has been getting most of the attention. Well, now it’s time to shine the spotlight on the enterprise product. First step: we’ve given it a separate web site. As of today, when you go to fonolo.com, you will see a “fork in the road”:

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If your company has an phone menu and a call center, then take a look at business.fonolo.com. We’ve boiled it down to the clearest and quickest way to explain our value to you. I guarantee you will “get it” in 30 seconds.

You can add Fonolo to your site with only a few lines of HTML. Instantly, your customers will have a better calling experience, your call center will be more efficient, and you will get feedback that you’ve never seen before. (Your customers can also use Fonolo from the smart phone too  — more on that later.)

If you think there’s a fit, sign up for our free trial and we’d love to talk to you!

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